I had a lengthy post about the Bentonville (Arkansas) Art Walk going yesterday, when it was inadvertently deleted and I was left to start over.
I take that as a sign that it was too wordy, so let me boil it down to this;
I was exhausted afterward. Outdoor art festivals are hard, what with preparing and framing all the art, setting up the booth, listening to the tornado sirens wail and watching helplessly as the partially erected and anchored booth is blown over and all your gear (not art, thank God) is soaked by torrential rain... setting up the booth again, sitting/standing around all day in the heat (for two days), etc... then tearing down and doing it all in reverse.
But, I met a lot of nice people, shared a sense of adventure and camaraderie with other tornado-harassed artists, got to listen to live music all day from some pretty talented and fun local bands, and sold three medium-sized paintings, which will really help the old budget this month.
I've been doing a lot of landscapes lately, partly out of a stubborn realization that I am not as good at landscapes as I am at still lifes. I am very aware that there are things I want to accomplish with the landscape that I am not able to, yet. This makes me want to paint more landscapes, which means the still lifes have been relatively neglected of late.
Sure enough, everyone who entered my booth made it clear one way or another that my landscapes were fine, and all, but it's my still lifes that get most people excited. I sold three still lifes.
This remonds me of when I was a freshman in college and considered majoring in music, just to show the world that I could do something besides art. Everyone knew me as an artist (or "that kid who draws good"), and so I wanted to break out and resist being pigeon-holed. Why? I don't really know. I always loved art, and doing art is where I have always felt most competent, most natural, most myself.
This same sense of wanting to challenge myself in a weaker area is partly what has driven me to do more landscape painting, and I have improved a good deal. But... still life is clearly where my natural gifts are most evident. It just suits me in a number of ways. I am also itching to work more with the figure, because - though I have done less of it - the figure is also an area where I think I have a natural inclination. The landscape, though, remains elusive, and I have to look at the possibility that I may never master it the way I would like. Kinda like the guitar... I have to face the fact (steady, now... stiff upper lip!) that the chances of my ever being a rock star are rapidly diminishing.
Long and short; it was a good and blessed weekend, for which I am grateful. It has brought some needed focus to my thinking regarding the direction of my art, and has refreshed me and help me approach my work with new vigor. Isn't it pathetic how selling a few paintings can affect a person? How would I be reacting now if I hadn't sold any, or if (like one artist) my tent and display had been pretty well destroyed? It makes me a bit concerned to think I may be so fickle and changeable.
Anyway, many thanks for your patience as I have been AWOL on the blog lately. Things should pick up this week.